Recipe of the Week
1 cup dried chick peas
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt plus 1/2 tsp. salt
2 cloves fresh garlic
1/3 cup sesame seed paste (also known as tahani and is available in most Middle Eastern markets)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. powdered cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (more or less according to taste)
3 Tbsp. water
1-1/2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. flat leaf parsley (for garnish)
Mix the chick peas with 1 tsp. of baking soda and soak in 2 qts. of cold water overnight. The next morning rinse the chick peas several times in cold water and drain.
Place the peas in a medium saucepan with plenty of water and 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring this to a boil and cook over medium heat until the peas are very soft (about 1-1/2 hours).
While the peas are cooking, puree the garlic with the other 1/2 tsp. salt in a blender or food processor, add the sesame seed paste, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne pepper, and 3 Tbsp. of water. Blend until well mixed and smooth.
Drain the cooked chick peas and reserve the cooking liquid. Combine the chick peas with the garlic and sesame seed paste mixture. Process until well-blended and smooth. Thin to the consistency of warm cream cheese with a little of the reserved water from boiling the chick peas. Throw the rest of the water away.
Garnish with olive oil and chopped parsley, then serve at room temperature with warm or toasted pita bread.